Membrane Deaeration – Innovations in Beverage Processing Techniques

by | Nov 20, 2015 | Beverages

Today’s beverage industry is very competitive and it’s important to have the best technology to keep up with and surpass the competition. One of the most important factors in beverage processing to consider, is deaerating or removing oxygen before processing. Here is a closer look at deaeration, why it is important, and why membrane deaeration technology may be the solution many businesses need.

Why Remove Oxygen?

As beverages are created and blended, a certain amount of air (oxygen) enters them. Although oxygen is a life giving gas, it also contributes to the breaking down or aging of cells. Naturally, the less O2 you have in your liquids, the longer shelf life you can enjoy. This is the main reason for deaeration in beverage processing.

There are other reasons to deaerate. For example, injecting CO2 can be achieved with less foaming when oxygen levels are reduced. Even beverages like juices can be improved and machinery can deliver consistent and reliable fill rates, thanks to deaeration.

Standard Deaeration Methods

Standard methods usually involve vacuum spray infusion. In order to remove O2 or CO2, liquid enters a beverage processing tower, the liquid is then sprayed in a vacuum (with no O2) and it is diffused, allowing the gases to escape. It’s all about Henry’s Law, which says: “At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid.”

Here is an example of Henry’s Law. Before you open a can or bottle of beer or soda, the gas inside the air space is nearly 100 percent CO2, and it’s pressure is a little higher than normal atmospheric pressure. Upon opening the container, you hear a hiss noise as the CO2 escapes. Now the dissolved CO2 in the liquid moves toward the atmospheric pressure of the room and you see the tiny bubbles coming to the top. In time, all of the gas will escape as it seeks equilibrium and the drink will go flat.

Membrane Deaeration

The membrane system uses a vacuum pump with dry running technology. Due to special filters or membranes, moisture cannot pass through but gases can. This type of beverage processing can remove high amounts of oxygen with minimal energy expended. In fact, it’s possible for some businesses to save a million gallons or more of water, every year.

Membrane technology does not utilize pumping equipment like standard methods. This is an excellent strategy for lowering operating costs and increasing overall efficiency. Because of the low pressure system, water can easily be used again and again for processing. In addition, the equipment is small compared to most systems and saves space.

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